February 28, 2023

"The Movement and the 'Madman'"
Premiers on PBS March 28

Unique Opportunity for Local Engagement

At least one million viewers nationwide will learn about the power of protest at 9 p.m. Tuesday March 28 when American Experiences airs on PBS a new 90-minute documentary directed by Stephen Talbot and produced by VPCC board members Robert Levering and Steve Ladd.

From the American Experiences press release (full text here)

"The Movement and the “Madman” shows how two antiwar protests in the fall of 1969 — the largest the country had ever seen — pressured President Nixon to cancel what he called his “madman” plans for a massive escalation of the U.S. war in Vietnam, including a threat to use nuclear weapons. At the time, protestors had no idea how influential they could be and how many lives they may have saved. Told through remarkable archival footage and firsthand accounts from movement leaders, Nixon administration officials, historians, and others, the film explores how the leaders of the antiwar movement mobilized disparate groups from coast to coast to create two massive protests that changed history."

Building and localizing the PBS broadcast is our first opportunity to carry the message of VPCC to a broad national audience. It is the missing chapter of the Burns Novick mega series about the war. VPCC is calling on its network of more than 5,000 antiwar activists and supporters to maximize the impact of the documentary by doing or adapting whatever is personally appropriate from this list:

  • Reaching out quickly to public relations and program staff of your PBS station to find ways to collaborate for the premier including involvement of former peace movement activists living in your area.

  • Planning to watch it yourself and alerting friends, family, coworkers and long lost contacts from the antiwar movement.

  • Organizing in-person or virtual viewing parties and conversations for the night of the premier or at a more convenient hour during the week or on the weekend by recording it or with streaming on PBS.org .

  • Showing the film with a moderated discussion to classrooms, peace and religious groups, community organizations, social justice campaigns, etc.

  • Assigning the broadcast for student viewing and leading a discussion the next day.  (Flyer with suggested questions will be here)

  • Meeting local historians, archivists and universities to ask if chronicles or collections about the peace movement in your area already exist that can be publicized in connection with the broadcast (or could be quickly assembled).

  • Using the premier to open discussion of longer term projects, including creation of local histories, collections of memorabilia and documents as well as collaboration with station rebroadcasts of the film during a summer fundraiser.

  • Writing an op ed or letter to the editor for pre-broadcast publication by local newspapers, online blogs and progressive newsletters that links your personal experience during the war with the showing of the film

  • Making the film relevant to current policy debates by asking how Russian military intervention in Ukraine is similar to or different from US military Intervention in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (and Iraq). Asking if a Russian antiwar movement, mass draft resistance through self-exile and dissatisfaction among soldiers can help bring peace the way they did in the US.

The film website here offers background on the film and resource links for classroom, organization and personal use. https://www.movementandthemadman.com/

VPCC is hosting a blog page for educators and organizers that welcomes your suggestions and is in development here.

Join our zoom discussion for educators and organizers on how to collaborate with local PBS stations and other film related projects

Sunday, March 5, 9 p.m. ET , 6 p.m. PT

·      Stephen Talbot, director of the film
·      Dr. Michael Doyle, Specialist in local historiography, Ball State University Moratorium commemoration
·      Dr. Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg, Professor Hofstra University, author "Fire and Rain"
·      Robert Levering producer (also of “The Boys Who Said No”)
John McAuliff, Fund for Reconciliation and Development (moderator)

Speaker bios and registration here

[If you are a teacher or activist with lots of experience using films and TV broadcasts and would like to speak during the zoom, please contact director@ffrd.org.]
At the Diplomatic Academy in Hanoi: Larry Levin, John Terzano, John McAuliff, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy

Viet Nam Celebrates the 50th Anniversary
of the Paris Peace Agreement

Three Americans were invited to participate in Vietnam's 50th anniversary program. They spoke at a program organized by the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations; met with other international delegates President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on the eve of his controversial resignation; and attended a formal ceremony organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headlined by Madame Nguyen Thi Binh who represented the Provisional Revolutionary Government in Paris (photo below).

The three were Larry Levin, active with the Indochina Peace Campaign before becoming director of the Coalition to Stop Funding the War; John Terzano. a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War before founding Vietnam Veterans of America with Bobby Muller; and John McAuliff, in the Peace Education Division of the American Friends Service Committee prior to founding the Fund for Reconciliation and Development.

In addition to the VUFO program, the three spoke to students at the Diplomatic Academy and met the director of Bach Mail Hospital with representatives of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). A trip report is in preparation and will be available within a week here.

Recent Webinars Available on youtube

"Ending the 'American War': Promises, Realities and Impact of the U.S. Peace Movement"; Carolyn (Rusti) Eissenberg, Arnold (Skip) Isaacs, moderated by Paul Lauter, author of "Our Sixties" Presented on December 11, 2022. See speaker bios and youtube link by clicking here .

They Who Sang to End the War 1: Peter Yarrow, Reggie Harris and Sonny Ochs moderated by Heather Booth Recorded on November 7. 2022 A moving recollection of how activists and singers strengthened each other to bring peace, with special attention to Phil Ochs and Peter, Paul & Mary. Click here for bios and here for new final youtube video edited by Peter Yarrow.

They Who Sang to End the War 2: Holly Near and Linda Tillery moderated by Crys Mathews "A Black Music Response" Originally presented on December 5, 2022 Click here for bios and resources and directly on youtube for the video recording.

"Citizens’ Responsibility for Confronting and Remembering the Crimes of War"
Recorded on November 20, 2022. While the public, the press and government officials debate holding Russia responsible for its war crimes in Ukraine, it is appropriate to reflect on the history of US war crimes in Indochina that led to the Redress campaign of civil disobedience. Richard Falk, Robert Jay Lifton, Cora Weiss and Doug Hostetter. Moderated by Carolyn (Rusti) Eisenberg. See speaker bios, resources and youtube link by clicking here.
"The Boys Who Said No!" Vimeo and Panel

The documentary film about draft resistance featuring David Harris will be presented by the Resource Center for Nonviolence streaming on Vimeo March 8 -11. Program in person in Santa Cruz, CA on March 11, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. PT and virtually.. Panelists Mandy Carter, Winter Dellenbach, Bob Zaugh and Joe Williams, Register here. https://rcnv.org/events/central-coast-premier-of-the-film-the-boys-who-said-no/

David Harris

Photo at Connie Vote Rally by Bob Fitch

Clay Risen: "David Harris, Leader of Vietnam Draft Resistance Movement, Dies at 76" New York Times

Steve Ladd: I was a freshman at UC Berkeley in November 1968 when David Harris came to speak, along with Joan Baez and Ira Sandperl, after David was sentenced to 3 years in prison. They toured many campuses prior to his imprisonment in July 1969, speaking to thousands of students and faculty across the country. Most people came to hear Joan, but David was the speaker with the greatest impact.

When I turned 18 I had registered as a C.O. David's speech pushed me and so many others to consider becoming a draft resister. I turned in my draft card in 1969 and helped start a peace group on campus that collected over 2000 draft cards following the invasion of Cambodia and the killings at Kent State in spring 1970. 

It was appropriate that The Boys Who Said NO! film was initiated at a reunion of draft resisters in 2013 at David Harris’s home in Mill Valley. Despite his declining health, David made it a point to speak online or in person at screenings of the film whenever possible. He remained powerfully articulate. A celebration of David’s life will be held at Stanford University on a date to be announced." 

Edward Hasbrouck "David Harris and the politics of draft resistance" Waging Nonviolence

David spoke at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Moratorium at Ball State University youtube nd words of David Harris offer key lessons on the
Help End the War in Ukraine
Signatures Still Needed

Join Vietnam Antiwar Activists to Voice Solidarity with Russia's Peace Movement

"As Americans we actively opposed the illegal inhumane US military
interventions in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Some of us suffered
family division, social alienation, arrest, imprisonment, violence and exile.
We affirm our support for and solidarity with Russians who, despite the
risk of harsh consequences, peacefully oppose and resist their
government's military conscription and illegal inhumane war in Ukraine."
Above picture from Russia about Ukraine is reminiscent of Fred Branfman's "Voices From the Plain of Jars" about Laos

"Schoolchildren in Cheboksary (Chuvashia, Volga) were given a homework task of anti-war drawings by their arts teachers at schools No 22 and 65. The idea was to send Russian soldiers pictures by young schoolkids on the theme “No to the War”. Directors of the schools would not talk to journalists. At the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, officials said they were 'indignant' " -- ‘Stand up for your convictions, even if you stand alone!’ Anti-war activities in Russia, 3-9 October https://khpg.org/en/1608811305

A personal note: For a variety of historical, political and diplomatic reasons, Viet Nam, Laos, South Africa, Cuba. China and India again were among 32 countries that abstained in the UN vote on February 23d condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine. (Cambodia was part of the 141 who voted in favor.)

In some cases their direct or indirect experience with US military intervention makes Washington's self righteousness hard to take. They recall that the US did everything in its power to prevent UN action on its equally illegal interventions in Indochina and Iraq. My experience with Vietnamese, both official and non-official. is that they are sympathetic to the Ukrainian side of the war and critical of Russia. Over the next week, I'll further explore this topic and other aspects of my January trip to Viet Nam and Cambodia here.

I raise the issue here because I have been surprised at the low number of signatures on the Ukraine petition. Is there a similar hesitation among former Vietnam activists to take a position aligned with that of the US government?

--John McAuliff, director@ffrd.org

"For Patrick Leahy, The Vietnam War Is Finally Ending" by George Black, The New Republic A well deserved tribute to 33 years of work by the Senator with the assistance of Tim Rieser to address the legacies of war.

"The Long Reckoning: A Story of War, Peace, and Redemption in Vietnam" by George Black, a well received book to be published by Knopf on March 29th. Includes the work of Susan Hammond in Laos and Lady Borton in Viet Nam.

"Eternal Harvest" award winning film directed by Jerry Redfern about unexploded ordnance in Laos, Bullfrog Films

March 18, 1968 The 55th anniversary of the My Lai massacre is an opportunity to watch The Whistle Blower of My Lai and the VPCC webinar about it, click here A context to discuss Russia's war crimes in Ukraine.

April 30, 1975 VPCC webinar abour the last day of the war as witnessed in Saigon by Nayan Chanda and in Hanoi by John McAuliff. Good for personal or group viewing for the 48th anniversary of peace, click here

"PAID to Piss People Off: Book #1:PEACE, Book #2: PORN, Book #3: PRAYER"
a three volume memoir by Barry Lynn published by Blue Cedar Press. PEACE covers his work for amnesty for Vietnam war resisters: draft refusers, military “deserters” and the tens of thousands of veterans who had been given “undesirable discharges” without trial.
Vietnam - The Power of Protest
Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee

* Sally Benson * David Cortright * Jay Craven * Carolyn Eisenberg * Susan Hammond *
* Doug Hostetter * Alex Knopp * Steven Ladd * Paul Lauter * Robert Levering * Jack Malinowski *
*John McAuliff * Barbara Myers * Mark Pavlick * * Roger Peace * Terry Provance *
 * Brewster Rhoads * Joe Volk * Andrew Wells-Dang * Linda Yarr *